There is nothing worse than nursing your infant through a cold. Allergies are a whole other ball game. Allergies may be related to food, medication, chemical irritants, insects, animal dander, dust mites, mold or pollen. Symptoms may include itchy, watery eyes, a runny nose or sneezing and may be mild to moderate in intensity. More severe reactions may include hives or anaphylaxis.
Did you know that 80% of the immune system lines the outside of the digestive tract? If the integrity of the intestinal walls has been breached, potential allergens can enter into the immune system, triggering an immune response.
The immune system develops over the first 7 years of life. To enhance your child’s immune system try these 5 immune-boosting strategies:
1. Breastfeed, if possible. Breast milk is abundant in IgA, a naturally occurring antibody responsible for protecting the digestive and respiratory system against infection or irritants.
2. Let your child eat dirt! (well, not literally, of course) Based on the Hygiene Hypothesis, infants who are exposed to more pathogens build stronger immune responses and are better equipped to fight infection and tolerate allergens.
3. Say no to Immune-Suppressing Foods and Benefit from anti-inflammatory foods. There are specific foods known to suppress immune functioning and produce inflammation while other foods are known to reduce inflammation and support immune functioning.
Foods that Suppress Immune Functioning and Increase Inflammation:
- Refined Flour
- Refined Sugar
- Foods that contain additives, chemicals and preservatives.
- Wheat/gluten products
- Dairy (except breast milk)
- Strawberries and citrus fruit
In fact, sugar reduces immune functioning for up to 5 hours.
Foods that Support Immune Functioning and Reduce Inflammation:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Herbs and spices
Turmeric is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties and is easy to incorporate into your infants’ meal. Baby Gourmet makes a delicious Vegetable Lentil Dahl that your infant is sure to love AND benefit from! Another favorite immune-boosting Baby Gourmet meal: Juicy Pear and Garden Greens.
4. Protein is a must. The immune system relies on protein to protect against allergies and fight against infections. Baby Gourmet’s new line of Protein Puree’s provides the building blocks necessary for your infant. Two favorites: Chicken Minestrone Soup and Heart Vegetables with Turkey.
5. Castor Oil Tummy Rubs. Castor oil works to clean and support liver functioning, reduce inflammation within the gut, modulate the immune system and improve bowel functioning. Take a ¼ size amount of castor oil and rub your infants’ belly from the lower right side, up to the rib cage, across to the left side, and downward (imagine your hand moving in a clockwise motion). Doing this 5-7 times a week significantly improves immune functioning, making your child less susceptible to allergies and infections. For more detailed information, visit my website at www.naturedoctor.ca and sign up to the Online Service Centre for a free copy of my Castor Oil Tummy Rub Handout, other helpful handouts and more.
Shelly Reitkop is a Naturopathic Doctor serving patients in the Greater Toronto Area. Her goal is to inspire health by educating, motivating and empowering people to take an active role in their health care journey. Shelly works with people of all ages and although she has an eclectic practice, she has a specialized clinical focus in pediatric health and women’s health, including perinatal care. Shelly believes in an integrative approach to optimal health and works closely with Medical Doctors and other health care providers to provide the most elite form of comprehensive care. She utilizes a number of different modalities including: Nutrition and Nutritional Supplementation, Botanical Supplementation, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, Homeopathy and Lifestyle Counseling. Her emphasis is on whole family nutrition and believes that ‘you are what you eat’ and ‘small changes make big differences.’ Her goal is to guide families on how they can be their happiest and healthiest.
Shelly is a graduate of The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM) and is an active member of the Board of Directors of Drugless Therapies. She is pleased to be a member of the Association of Perinatal Naturopathic Doctors (APND), Canadian Society of Orthomolecular Medicine (CSOM) and Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors (OAND).
Posted on June 08, 2012 | Filed under: General Baby
I've heard of so many parents who struggle with mealtimes. But if it tastes good, she's going to want to eat it.
Amery and baby Kennedy